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Any tips for preventing stiff clothes when drying outdoors?

When it's 100 degrees outside I just could no longer put my clothes in an electric dryer so I got a clothes line. Only problem seems to be that they are stiff when dried and the towels are scratchy (like a cheap motel). I am using the same Tide detergent and Downey fabric treatment like always. What do I need to change?

Justification for why this is repair-related:

  1. Drying clothes outside reduces wear on them, make them last longer.
  2. I think this goes with the spirit of the site in green energy use.
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UPDATE

I wrote to Downey for an answer. I got a reply that pretty well reiterated what Kyle said. I didn't buy Downeys' answer and they wouldn't post an answer on this forum. By belief is that fabric softeners are high heat activated and just don't work on a line. Will wait for more empirical data on this one and get back to you. (I don't do laundry that often and only when I'm out of socks)

Update

After a couple of months of not using fabric softeners and cutting my detergent by 1/3 my line dried clothes are coming out much much better. I still get plenty of suds but the stiffness has decreased measurably.

After line drying for several years, I've found that a combination works best. I line dry first then put them in the dryer with fabric softener sheets to get nice fluffy towels and whites.

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This is a very common issue, from what I hear. Here are five solutions from about.com:

  1. Add a cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle to help dissolve the laundry detergent.
  2. Cut the amount of detergent that you use. Half the recommended amount is usually plenty.
  3. Run your clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes, before putting them out on the line.
  4. Shake out your clothes before hanging them.
  5. Hang your clothes out on a windy day.

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+ Thanks for the tips. My area of the country has very hard water and it takes more soap. I'm using liquid detergent so dissolving is not an issue. It's usually windy here. I'll let you know what works.

I found this site: http://www.stretcher.com/stories/06/06ju...

First thing I'm going to try is cutting the fabric softener.

How about a hard water treatment or conditioner? Something permanent near the water heater?

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I dry my clothes on a line and I find the three simplest methods to preventing stiff clothes are to use less soap, take the clothes down directly after they are dry (don't leave them out for hours), and/or to dry them on an indoor line.

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Thanks Brittany. Why does leaving them on the line stiffen them?

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No, soap soup. No more I can't eat it It makes line drying annoying as !&&*,It might smell good but Washing in the open air is suppost to give you that. Oh, Imma try some perfume mix to give my cloths a fresher smell. Try for a outdoors spring smell. Oh it works wonders!

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Oh, ummmm...Washing and then drying in the open air.

Oh, I'm a ghost.

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